Stefan Wilson, aged 21 is the younger brother of IndyCar Star Justin Wilson. He began racing Karts at the age of nine. Competing in National events in the UK which provided the springboard to an international Karting career.
In 2007 he graduated to open wheel cars, where he had an explosive season in the Formula Palmer Audi Series, taking four pole positions, four wins, six fastest laps and two outright lap records on his way to runner up in the Championship. Following that success, he beat five of the top racing talents that Britain had to offer to be named the Winner of the Prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award.
In 2008 Stefan moved up to British Formula 3, where he took 4 class wins and further podiums. For 2009 Stefan made the decision to switch to American open wheel racing, where he competed in five Firestone Indy Lights events, qualifying on the second row at the Long Beach Grand Prix, and finishing 4th at the Grand Prix of Toronto. Most significantly, Stefan completed a test for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, which he received as part of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award prize.
In 2011, Stefan won two races on the streets of Toronto and his first oval at Kentucky. He finished third in the championship. In 2012 due to funding, Stefan was without a ride in FIL. He will be back in 2013 hungrier than ever.
On a personal note, Stefan is pure class. In 2011, Stefan came up to Waterloo, IN to help with a convocation at Waterloo Elementary School. All 269 students were receiving a IMS Centennial Decal to take home. Stefan asked me if he could sign the decals. I told him there were 269 and he said he wanted to do it. Stefan sat at a table for 30 minutes after the convocation was done so that each student could have a signed decal by him. We did get to surprise Stefan that day: Arpil 29,2011 was officially named by the town of Waterloo as Stefan Wilson Day. Stefan has the official document and needless to say, he was shocked when I surprised him with it. Keep your chin up my friend and look for Stefan to be back in 2013.
You can follow Stefan on twitter at @stef_wilson
Now, 5 Questions with Stefan Wilson
1. If you weren’t a racing driver, what would be your dream job?
Its hard to say really, I’ve never really dreamed about being anything else. If anything were possible, and we’re talking about a job outside of racing completely… it would be pretty cool to be a fighter pilot, come on, everyone’s seen Top Gun right?
2. What would you list as your biggest accomplishment to date?
There’s a few important things, Winning the McLaren Autosport Award has to be up there, being selected by McLaren at only 18 as one of the drivers that they think is going to make it to the top was definitely a huge achievement and honor, McLaren is a team that I’ve idolized since I was a little boy…well not so much little, but young. Then I’d list driving the 2008 World Championship winning McLaren as another big accomplishment, although that was more of a personal accomplishment for me, being able to drive a Formula 1 car, its not something many drivers get to do these days. Then lastly, capturing my first win in IndyLights last year in Toronto, and then my first Oval win in Kentcuky.
3. If you could win one race that you haven’t won yet, which race would it be, and why?
Without a doubt, it would be the Indianapolis 500! I love the history and the tradition, everything about it, without a doubt that is the one race I would give anything to win.
4. Most racing drivers have an idol or a mentor, who is yours and how have they encouraged you in your career?
I have a few drivers that stick out to me, Kimi Raikkonen is a fun driver to watch, I like how he’s not a PR robot, and he’s willing to come over to the USA try NASCAR racing, and then go back to F1 and immediately score podiums, that show’s his passion for racing, that he’s willing to try any form of it. Also Valentino Rossi, although he’s considered a rider, I love watching him in Moto GP, it’s so entertaining to watch him try overtake moves that make you gasp, he’s a showman.
All that being said, I think the biggest role model for me as a driver has to be my older brother Justin, I’ve seen his whole career, and I’ve seen how hard he’s worked, his commitment, and the effort he puts in, since being in IndyCar he hasn’t been with a top flight team, he’s competed against the likes of Penske, Ganassi and Andretti, and he along with Dan Wheldon are the only drivers to have beaten those teams since Rahal’s St Pete win in 2008! It’s so frustrating to see all his hard work and his notable wins and not see him in a top line drive fighting Will Power, Dixon and Franchitti for the championship.
Another driver that I consider a mentor is Dan, he was something special and he knew how to finish strong at Indy. his performances at Indy, his personality and his appreciation for the fans make him such a great role model, he is missed so much.
5. Other than you, who is the most talented driver in the series you currently race in, and what is it about them that makes them special?
In IndyLights, the current top 4 in the Championship are all extremely talented, all 4 will be able to excel if they were to make the switch to IndyCar. Below those 4 there are a further 3-4 drivers that just need more time in the series to gain more experience.
We will work to get each and every driver we can to answer the same set of 5 questions. Our ultimate goal is to have current, past, and future stars of motorsports participate. If there is a driver you would like to see answer the 5 Questions, you can submit your request or even questions of your own on twitter @open_wheels.